One Love and Many Drinks: A Jamaican Adventure

You are all probably a little confused as to why I wrote a blog for the first day of the Jamaica trip and then went off the grid for a week.   Basically, I was having way too much fun to be bothered to use my brain for a prolonged period of time to write anything.  I swear, the sandwiches had nothing to do with it.  Now that I’m home and I have a week’s worth of activities and debauchery to catch up on, we are going to have to make these blogs a little more short and sweet than usual.  I will also be utilizing more visual aids.  Because (1) I’m lazy, and (2) we had about six go-pros on this trip so I have more pictures at my disposal.  I’m currently in the throws of a prolonged hangover from the week-long party in Jamaica, so forgive my brevity and lack of wit in these upcoming blogs.  Either that or I’ve contracted zika…but given my alcohol intake while abroad I think we can safely assume the former.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Today was the team’s first full day in Jamaica and it was a whopper.   Visiting Bob Marley’s childhood house was an important stop for several members of the group despite the very long and tedious journey from Negril.   The plan was to visit Nine Mile, the village where Bob grew up and is laid to rest, followed by Dunn’ River falls and some tubing on the white river.  Our driver, Eardley, informed us that there is no possible way we could squeeze all these into one day, and he was right.  But we figured it was worth a shot.  So we loaded up the car bar with champagne, vodka, rum, mixers and red stripe for our journey and set off at 7am on our over-zealous itinerary.

The car bar strikes again.
The car bar strikes again.

At our first pee stop we popped a few bottles of champagne and the car bar was officially open for the day.  It was a long and winding road up into the mountains to get to Nine Mile.  Once we arrived we bought tickets for the tour and hit the bar while we waited.  Half the group partook in some disgusting shots with rum floaters that were lit on fire and slurped through a straw.  The sandwiches and red stripes were flowing freely, as this was Bob country.  The tour took us through Bob’s childhood home, as well as his mausoleum.  Our guide was one of Bob’s first cousins, or so he claimed, and that was good enough for me. There were a few couples and families also on our the tour.  Most of them hated us because we were the loud and obnoxious Americans who showed up BYOB and BOYSandwich and enjoyed ourselves way too much.  Why on earth you would show up to this place with children is completely beyond me.  I refuse to let the questionable parental decisions of others hinder my good time, so no restraint was given.  After the tour, we were all feeling the “one love” motto of Jamaica.

We loaded back into the car bar and make some drinks for the journey to Dunn’s River Falls, which is perhaps the most iconic of all Jamaican tourist spots.  This is where things get a little fuzzy for me…because I hit the car bar hard on that drive.  It probably took a while to get there, but it sure didn’t feel like it.  We arrived and bought tickets and were introduced to our guide.  I don’t remember his name.  We were given a key to a locker, which I lost and found in my beach bag about three days later.  Once we were equipped with our water shoes, we began the journey up the falls.  The way it works is you all hold hands in a single file line and slowly hike up the falls.  There are spots where you can slide down, jump off, and dunk under the waterfall.  Our guide who’s name I don’t remember told me I was too drunk to climb the falls.  I was.  But I obviously disagreed and insisted, at which point I ate shit and jammed my finger into a rock.  I was down, but not out.   Half of us were shit faced and falling all over the place.  Once again, we were universally hated by the others in our tour group.  Being loud, drunk and obnoxious on vacation is nothing new for me.  I’m sure there are many more details, but you’ve have to ask one more the more sober members of our group for them.  There are a ton of absurd video clips from our trip up the falls, but since I’m too cheap and lazy to upgrade my wordpress account to allow for videos, all I have to offer you are pictures….

After Dunn’s River falls we stopped for food at a “Jerk Center” on the side of the road.  There are about a million of them in Jamaica, and they all serve the same delicious shit.  I passed out in the car while the rest of the group ate.  Seriously.  The journey home was the longest ride of my fucking life.  It was a solid four and a half hours at least.  We arrived back at the villa and went to bed, preparing ourselves for another long day tomorrow.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I’m sure you are all thinking that yesterday sounded aggressive for a group of ten American’s in Jamaica.  But you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Today can best be summed up in three parts: (1) partying on seven mile beach, (2) partying at Rick’s cafe, (3) partying at a reggae beach party.  We woke up and had breakfast cooked for us by our awesome chef.  Mike and I had a morning massage in the caves at our villa, as did Stina and Max.  The ocean crashed beneath us as our thirteen hour journey from the day before was massaged away.

By the end of the trip, everyone in the group would have a massage in the cave, but that was all we had time for today before we got the party started.  Let’s be honest, the party started before we even left the villas.  Eardley picked us up a little before noon and we headed to Margaritaville in Negril on “seven mile beach” for some fun in the sun.  Margaritaville is known for being horrendously touristy, but lets not forget that we are horrendous tourists.  So bring on the ocean trampolines and overpriced cheeseburgers!  We had a cabana rented and spent the next few hours playing in the turquoise ocean so warm it felt like bath water, while we drank beers and enjoyed lunch.  It was exactly the kind of chilled out  beach day that comes to mind when you think of Jamaica.

Once the team was thoroughly warmed up, it was time for our next stop of the day: Rick’s Cafe.  Rick’s is one of the most famous (or infamous) bars in the world, on the cliffs of Negril, known for it’s beautiful sunsets and cliff jumping.  We reserved the best cabana in the house (duh) which had an awesome view of the sunset and the jumpers.   Most of the group took a jump.  I elected to watch from the safety of my cabana and comfort of my vodka, as I tend to wind up with injuries when I combine booze and adrenaline.

After Rick’s we went back to the villa for dinner.  It was time to game up for stop #3 of the day: the Different Strokes Retro beach party.  I’m not a complete psychopath – my original itinerary had us spending a chill night at the villa.  However, the property manager informed us this morning that this beach party only happens once every six months in Negril, so how could we pass that up?  Most of the group was dead, but everyone rallied like pro’s.  We got to the party around 10:30pm.  Little did we know that we were about four hours too early.  We also paid extra for “VIP” tickets which included “all you can drink”.  However the “all you can drink” consisted of vodka & ting or rum and coke only.  It was basically a rip off for dumb shit tourists like us.  We also realized later in the night that we probably could have easily snuck in our own booze…but live and learn.  Since our group basically opened the party, we took over the dance floor and acted like total morons for a few hours.  It felt like everyone else at the party spent most of the night staring at us.  Although my boyfriend was dressed like the Jamaican flag, so who can blame them?   Body shots happened.  Lots of dancing happened.  Little by little our group went home in waves.  Mike and I waited until about 2:30am for the “turn up” that never came to pass.  I think my version of “turning up” and the Rasta version are two very different things.  We headed home, completely exhausted.  My last thoughts before I went to sleep was how the hell I was going to survive the boat party tomorrow…

Peace be the Journey to Negril

Wednesday, November 17 – Thursday, November 18, 2016

There is nothing longer than the last day of work before a trip, and today was no different. Once my daily servitude was complete I went home finished packing, patiently awaiting the drinking team’s arrival. Seven of us were on the same flight from LA: myself, Mike, Tyler, Sarah, Autumn, Stina and Max. Nikki is meeting us in Jamaica from NYC, while Allie and Jesse are already in Jamaica lounging and eating at a resort buffet with overweight Canadians. Our flights were uneventful.

We hit the airport bar pre-flight and I handed out the Xanax like trick-or-treat candy. Everyone quickly passed out while I tossed and turned in my coach coffin on a double dose, praying for the sleep that refused to come. Before we knew it, we were in Fort Lauderdale, waiting for the Chili’s airport bar to open at 8am. And a few hours later, we landed in Montego Bay airport and breezed through immigration. Allie and Jesse were eagerly awaiting us outside of the airport. Our driver met us about ten minutes later with a gleeful hello and a “Ya Mon!”. Eardley would be our driver for the entire week, chauffeuring us around the island. He would be the logistical jewel in my aggressive itinerary crown. We intantly knew we were in good hands. And just like that, the first adventure was upon us. It was time to eat.

We had about an hour and a half to kill before Nikki’s flight arrived, so we headed to Scotchies, which is the most famous jerk chicken place in Jamaica. It’s also ten minutes from the airport. And if the first two aren’t reason enough, they went to Scotchies on an episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. So I can write this off as reconnaissance for my future career. We arrived in the rain to a BBQ hut oasis, complete with a thatched roof and groups of adorable wooden tables. It looked like Bob Marley’s backyard had been sprinkled with some Jimmy Buffet magic and Bobby’s Flay’s grilling skills. We ordered a round of drinks and shit ton of food from a good natured waitress. I’m sure you can guess what came next: jerk chicken and red stripe to the face. Top it off with some aggressive homemade hot sauce and the drinking team was thrilled with life. We ordered a few more rounds of drinks while the tropical rain set in. Once we were fat, drunk and happy we ran through the pouring rain back to the van and headed back to the airport to pick up Nikki.

The rain was fitting at this moment, because it was time for the one dark cloud in every trip like this: provisioning. I split up the team into groups. A couple boys for heavy lifting with me on booze and water duty and the girls on snack duty. We descended upon the MegaMart with determination in our eyes and fear in our hearts. We loaded up the carts with cases of water first. Never underestimate the importance of water. Next up were cases of red stripe. We then bought the MegaMart out of vodka and champagne. The champs proved tricker than we had anticipated, as they could not locate their extra cases in stock. The way the Jamaican MegaMart works is similar to Costco, in that extra stock is stacked above in pallets on racking. However, the MegaMart never got the warehouse management memo that you are supposed to stack shit directly above where it’s sold. Instead, they fill pallets with random shit and store it anywhere in the store that has room. The result is a horribly inefficient game of where’s waldo on a forklift. After 40 minutes of searching, we gave up and just filled a cart with single bottles of champagne. It took four women about half an hour to ring up our four carts of shit. We thought we were finally home free, but the various American credit card institutions had other plans. Capital One: declined. Bank of America: declined. At this point, I have minimum wage workers in a third world country judging me for my apparent lack of credit. I refused to let something as silly as fraud protection get in my way. I called Capital One to inquire as to why my credit card, which is specifically marketed as an international travel card, had been declined. Obviously, it was because I’m traveling. The logic is flawless. When I say I “inquired”, I really mean I that I bitched out several ill-fated employees who were unlucky enough to man the phone lines that day. I legitimately lost my shit. I could see in the MegaMart employees eyes that not only am I the broke white girl, I’m now the crazy broke white girl. Capital one released the hold and we were free to pack up our van and make drinks for the drive down to Negril in the parking lot. Another point in Eardley’s favor: he encourages holding drinking team practices in the car.

The car bar!
The car bar!

About an hour later (maybe more, I’m not sure because I’m drunk) we finally arrived at our villas. At this point, I have to back up and fill you all in on the endless saga of villa drama that I have gone through in the past few months. First, we booked a five bedroom villa on the beach. They double booked it and canceled on us about two weeks after I made the reservation. I then go back to the drawing board and book an amazing 6 bedroom villa on the cliffs of Negril. A month before our arrival they call me and tell me that they had also double booked us, due to an error in their new booking system, and we again have no villa. We are left with the decision to leave Negril for a villa on the other side of the island or settle for three two-bedroom villas non-sea side at the same property. After much deliberation, we chose to take the smaller villas and pocket the extra cash. This turned out to be an excellent decision, because the villas are gorgeous. The pool is amazing. And the hot tub seats 30 people – need I say more? There are also very few other guests staying at any of the other villas, so we basically have full run of the place.

The property loaded up coolers full of beers, water and booze and we hit the ground running. We took a tour of the property, which includes a cave that leads under the road and out to the sea. We would all be getting complimentary massages in the caves for our villa drama troubles. The property is a mixture of costa rican lushness and Swiss Family Robinson oasis. We fired up the hot tub and spent the evening drinking and enjoying our “welcome gift” from the security team. I will refer to this “welcome gift” throughout the blog as “sandwiches”, so stay alert. And if this form of references is still too stealth for you, then just assume we are all fat asses who eat a lot of sandwiches. Our chef served us dinner poolside under the palapa bar, and we all headed up to bed shortly thereafter. I was on zero sleep with a 6am call time tomorrow. Join me next time for when our car bar takes over Bob Marley’s house. Literally.

View of the cliffs from our cave!
View of the cliffs from our cave!

Rory for President!…of Jamaica

Who am I kidding, I don’t want to be President of anything. I’d rather set my sights on running for the HBIC of the Real Housewives of Anywhere. I’ve already made a mental note to absentee ballot and leave the country during the next presidential election.   Preferably to somewhere with no wifi and therefore no access to facebook.  The endless stream of political tirades has made me long for the days of starbucks selfies and pics of girls in full makeup at the gym. So for the next week while in Jamaica, the ten of us will be an amiable group of harmless Canadians in search of warm weather, high seas and stocked bars. Our political ties will lie only to our hot Prime Minister. The democratic process will be replaced by a travel dictatorship. And there will be only one party – ours. So before we jump in to another amazing trip full of beach parties, waterfalls, boats and booze, let me take you back to how this all started…

Riddle me this.  What do you get when you combine four well-traveled adults with Saturday brunch and four bottomless mimosas?  Apparently, a trip to Jamaica.   The following Monday at work I texted my partners in crime to see if (1) they actually remembered our plans for a Jamaica trip and (2) were serious about it.  Everyone knows that a drunk “yes” is a tepid “maybe” at best once sobered up.  If your friends try to hold you to plans that you made while drunk, you need to get drunker friends.  Which is why I was pleasantly shocked to find that my obligatory Monday follow-up was met with a resounding sober “yes”.  By Monday afternoon I had a budget, some leads on villas, and a draft itinerary. Slow day at the office…

I’m going to intro the people on this trip in waves and keep it brief, because there are ten of us and it’s gonna take a while.   The godfathers of the drunk brunch planning crew include my little brother, and my two boyfriends.  My little brother bowed out of the trip a few months into the planning phase, so that leaves the boyfriends.  To be clear, only one is actually my boyfriend.  The other is his best friend and I just find it more efficient to yell “hey, boyfriends!” at them when in a group setting.

First, lets meet the boyfriend, Mike. Yes, Rory has a boyfriend. And yes, that boyfriend has an awesome beard.
How we met: At the LA Yacht Week 10th Anniversary party under champagne showers and a vodka induced haze.
Likes: Champagne, bottomless brunch, dance floors, NFL Red Zone, GEAR, dorking out over electronics and investment options, string cheese, Trader Joe’s knock-off Spaghetti-Os, speedos, beard grooming, family feud marathons with his awesome girlfriend, and apparently really loud chicks.
Dislikes: He really doesn’t dislike much. This quality will make him very well suited to be the “first man” of Jamaica.
Favorite travel memory: Running with the bulls in Pamplona

Next up is Tyler.
How we met: At the LA Yacht Week 10th Anniversary party.
Likes: Dating – seriously this guy has more dates than Palm Springs, being punctual (which I greatly appreciate), planning trips (he is the Rory of his group of friends), speedos, brunching, sour cream, Mike
Dislikes: Pants, the dreaded asian tour bus, sacrificing a good time for the sake of your health.
Favorite travel memory: Sleeping on cardboard in a park in Pamplona with Mike during the San Fermin Festival after watching Spain win the World Cup, and waking up to a fellow vagabond silhouetted in the sunrise receiving a morning BJ, follewed by running hungover with the bulls.

So Mike, Tyler and I set out to find a solid crew of people to embark on our journey of becoming the first Jamaican drinking team. Nuff people say they know they cant believe, Jamaica, we have a drinking team. If you didn’t get the Cool Runnings reference there, you should be ashamed of yourself. What the fuck where you doing in the early 90’s if you weren’t chanting “Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme”? Study up, because that is the first of many, my friends. Cool Runnings is one of my top five movies of all time. And with that, lets meet more of the team. I’m lazy so I’m going to do some couple intros:

Allie and Jesse and lots of wine
Allie and Jesse and lots of wine

Allie and Jesse – you all may remember my hype girl and BFF Allie from our drunken Cabo escapades. This time, she is bringing her other half, Jesse.
How they met: They fell in love in a hopeless place – at a bar.
Likes: Jesse enjoys spearfishing and presenting a general demeanor of apathy in all situations. Allie enjoys her dog, Twinkie, wine, cheese, costumes, procrastination and making bad decisions with me.
Dislikes: I sense that Jesse carries a general disdain for most humans, a trait he and I share. Beyond that, who knows. Allie dislikes a lot of things these days, but I refuse to get political in the blog. So let’s keep it moving.
Favorite travel memory together: A romantic moped ride in Santorini that ended with an empty gas tank on the side of the road, a long walk, and a dusty bus ride back to the hotel. Needless to say these two will not be in charge of logistics for this trip.

Stina and Max – That’s right folks – the founding travel partner with whom this blog was started, my fellow “Dino down under“, travel soul mate and worldly unicorn, Stina, is finally back. This time, she is bringing her boyfriend, Max, along for the ride.
How they met: They swiped right and never looked back.
Likes: Max like star wars, spaghetti, and tennis. Stina likes unicorns, pizza, prosecuting people to the full extent of the law, pool parties, awkward faces and snuggling.
Dislikes: Max dislikes traffic (no shit), commercials and condiments (wtf?). I don’t feel the need to list dislikes for Stina, as any minor grievances pale in comparison to her complete and utter disdain for stupid people. This girl has a legitimate zero tolerance policy for fucktards. But don’t worry, you’ll know if she hates you, because her cute little face hides nothing.
Favorite travel memory together: An impromptu valentines day champagne shower in a hotel room in Carmel. With actual champagne you weirdos!

Nikki and Stina
Nikki and Stina

How we met: In college…I don’t recall the details. That is true for most of my college career. If I had to guess I’d say we met at a pre-party with mutual friends (Stina) while I was yelling “Shots!”. That’s how I met about 90% of people in college…
Likes: wine, 2-for-1 drinks at NYC gay bars, brunch, chillin’ with netflix (but not netflix and chillin’ if you catch my drift)
Dislikes: slow walkers that take up the entire sidewalk (I fully agree that they should be sterilized), Beyonce, late-night texts from fuckboys, crooked sunglasses
Favorite travel memory: Sleeping in a park in Pamplona during the running of the bulls. Apparently parks in Pamplona are the hot place to be.

The young guns
The young guns

Sarah and Autumn – last but not least, the young girls who have yet to be fully ravaged by the poor decisions of the harrowing decade knows as “your 20’s”.
How we met: Sarah is Mike’s little sister, and Autumn is her friend. We said “Jamaica?” and they said “Hell yes”. That is all the qualifications you need to get on this blog.
Likes: I’m not really sure, as I don’t know them too well yet. But since they are in their early twenties and good looking, I’ll venture to guess that their hobbies include going out to bars, accepting free drinks, going out in public sans makeup and lots of tinder.
Dislikes: They are young, cute and skinny. They aren’t allowed to have dislikes yet. When your body starts falling apart and the botox bill starts going up you can be mad at the world like the rest of us. Enjoy it while it lasts, ladies.
Favorite travel memory: Hitting the bars every Saturday night.  Although, I’m not sure a blackout qualifies as a memory…

If that isn’t a group worthy of a fake Olympic team, I don’t know what is.

Jamaican drinking team!
Jamaican drinking team!

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